Are quantitative fit factors predictive of respirator fit during simulated healthcare activities
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Are quantitative fit factors predictive of respirator fit during simulated healthcare activities

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      J Occup Environ Hyg
    • Description:
      An annual OSHA fit test is required for all U.S. employees required to wear a respirator during work, but there are limited data demonstrating a link between fit test results and respirator fit during work. The goal of this research is to determine if the fit factor (FF) achieved during an abbreviated ambient aerosol condensation particle counter (CPC) quantitative fit test is predictive of fit achieved during a simulated workplace protection factor (SWPF) scenario that includes realistic healthcare activities. Fifteen subjects (7 male; 8 female) were recruited for a range of facial sizes. Each subject donned an N95 filtering facepiece respirator and performed a single 29-min routine consisting of initial and final 2.5 min fast fit tests (five 30-sec exercises: normal breathing, head side to side, head up and down, talking, and bending over) and three repetitions of three 6-min simulated healthcare activities (CPR, ultrasound, and making a hospital bed). Two CPC instruments simultaneously collected second-by-second measures of particle concentration inside and outside of the respirator facepiece. FFs or SWPFs were calculated by dividing outside by inside facepiece concentrations. Overall FFs and SWPFs were highly correlated. Each exercise FF was highly correlated with the overall SWPF. Normal breathing, head up and down, and talking were most predictive of overall SWPF. Normal breathing and talking together were predictive of each of the three simulated healthcare activities. For CPR and bed making activities, head movement exercises were also found to be predictive. A quantitative fit test using a small set of exercises is highly predictive of an individual's fit during simulated work activities. Some exercises (e.g., talking and head movements) are predictive of fit during simulated workplace activities. Limitations include only one respirator model, a small subject pool not representative of the full range of face sizes. This article uses an innovative second-by-second assessment method that collects information about in- and outside-facepiece concentrations throughout the test period.
    • Source:
      J Occup Environ Hyg. 15(12):803-809
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